24 cult products created by female-founded black-owned beauty brands

Show your support by getting your next beauty fix from one of these black-owned make-up, hair and skincare ranges

In recent years, the beauty industry has gradually started to make a move towards becoming more diverse and inclusive. But while progress has been slow, one sure-fire way to help speed things up is by purchasing from black-owned beauty brands. And while it’s often assumed that these lines only cater to a black audience, you’ll find that the majority of them have inclusivity built into their core, creating a space for all women to feel celebrated and seen. We’ve rounded up some of the most covetable female-founded black-owned beauty brands and their cult products to invest in now.

Charlotte Mensah

Award-winning hairdresser and owner of Notting Hill’s thriving boutique salon Hair Lounge, Charlotte Mensah specialises in natural textured hair, from Afro to mixed and curly, and counts Janelle Monáe, Erykah Badu and Jada Smith as regular clients. One of the first to pioneer the natural hair care movement almost 20 years ago, she’s become London’s go-to specialist for those looking to embrace their natural textures and in 2016 she released her own celebrated hair care line. Made from ethically and sustainably sourced Manketti nut and Ximenia seed oil, her shampoos, conditioners, oils and finishing mists revitalise dull, dry or damaged hair with a major hit of hydration.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Manketti Hair Oil, £48
A dose of TLC for your scalp and hair, this unique blend of Manketti Nut and Ximenia oils restores damaged, dull and dehydrated hair.
Pat McGrath Labs

Dubbed by Anna Wintour as “the most influential make-up artist in the world”, Pat McGrath has spent over two decades developing and launching luxury cosmetic brands, as well as working on runway shows, breakthrough advertising campaigns and editorial spreads to create some of the world’s most iconic beauty looks. In 2016 she finally launched Pat McGrath Labs, her hotly anticipated make-up range. First came the limited edition kits that sold out in seconds – now she has a full collection of beautifully packaged, inclusive products, which range from foundations in 36 different shades to densely pigmented eye shadows and universally flattering lipsticks. It’s little wonder, then, that the line was proclaimed a billion dollar brand just two years after launching.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Foundation, £60
For a base that glides onto the skin like a serum, hydrates, blurs and smooths like a primer and offers light to full coverage depending on your application technique - look no further.

With a mission statement that focuses on celebrating the differences in our hair, this multi-culturally minded, London-based brand was born from former beauty writer Loretta De Feo’s frustration at not being able to find a natural range that could cater to the textures of her own curly hair. Her vegan, silicone and sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners are packed full of nourishing ingredients, like repairing quinoa protein, organic coconut oil and shea butter, that work hard to deliver deep hydration and shine to all hair types, but work particularly well on curly and Afro textures.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Deep Conditioner, £22
Protect hair against frizz, make brushing more manageable and add some major shine with this rich paraben, and mineral oil free conditioner.
Plant Apothecary

Organic, eco-friendly and made with the highest quality essential oils and botanicals, this unisex, vegan beauty brand takes sustainability and self-care up a notch. The all natural, plant-based skincare line – which ranges from zingy rosemary and lemongrass body washes to antioxidant-rich face masks and moisturising sunflower and apricot seed oils – are designed to address the concerns of all skin types and shades, whether sensitive or acne-prone, fair or dark. Inspired by husband and wife founders Holly McWhorter and Bjarke Ballisager’s mixed African and Danish heritage, the brand is on a mission to change the beauty landscape by challenging the notion that “only white women are interested in being green consumers”.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Wakey Wakey Organic Body Wash, £20
Expertly blended using nine simple ingredients, this energising body wash features essential oils of rosemary and lemongrass, designed to stimulate the mind and body.
Fenty Beauty

When Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty in late 2017 she instantly made waves that got the industry – and the wider world – to sit up and listen. Offering more than 40 foundation shades in her first collection, she immediately put long established beauty brands to shame and had women all over the globe buying her inclusive products, which would never fail to sell out as soon as they were released; three years later, every new launch still does. Standout products include her award-winning buildable base, Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, and the Stunna Lip Paint, a weightless, liquid lipstick available in head-turning shades that look incredible on all skin tones.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Body Lava Body Luminizer in Cognac Candy, £46
Available in three sheer shades that accentuate all skin tones, glowing skin is only a pump away thanks to this gel-based body luminiser, packed with light-diffusing micropearls.
The Hempton

A CBD line that is focused on female wellness, The Hempton is a range of ethically sourced, vegan and cruelty-free CBD products that are designed to help with issues including hormone rebalancing, period pain and menopause. After two years of research and development, the founder Sarah Higgins launched the brand with two types of CBD patches. Activated by body heat, the patches use a concentration gradient to pace the release of the calming oil. In addition to the original patches, the brand also carries the menthol version, adding a dose of the minty, cooling substance to increase the relaxing effect.

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CBD Topical Patches, £33
Each patch includes 4 patches with a 40mg dose that is gradually released over time through the skin to give a steady, soothing dose of calm.
Shani Darden Skincare

Los Angeles-based Shani Darden is one of Hollywood’s favourite facialists, credited with giving the likes of Emily Ratajkowski, Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Chrissy Teigen their glowing complexions. Now, the skincare expert has released her secrets with her line of A-List approved products that promise to deliver equally effective results at home. Presented in effortlessly chic, minimalist packaging, the aesthetician has used years of clinical expertise to develop a results-driven line of retinol reformers, under-eye creams, oil-free moisturizers and more. The simple yet effective collection offers a streamlined routine that takes the fuss out of skincare.

24 cult products created by female-founded black-owned beauty brands shasha005 shanidarden retinolref
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Retinol Reform, £80
The fast-working and gentle treatment uses 2.2% encapsulated retinol and 2% lactic acid to refine skin’s texture, boost elasticity and reduce the visibility of scars, dark spots and pores.

Briogeo founder Nancy Twine credits her grandmother with igniting her passion for hair care – happy memories include the hours she would spend, aged just five, helping her make homemade products for their tresses. Fast forward a few decades and now she has her own hugely successful line of shampoos, conditioners and masks, after ditching a high-flying career on Wall Street for the laboratory. The brand prides itself on its clean credentials, with all the packaging made from recycled materials and non-toxic formulas that use naturally derived ingredients. Expect a stronger, healthier mane thanks to the abundance of repairing oils and antioxidant rich powerhouses like acai, kiwi and matcha.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask, £8.50
Like a glass of water for thirsty strands, expect dry, brittle, over-processed hair to shine thanks to hydrating b-vitamins, rosehip, argan oil, algae and biotin.

Founded by Nigerian-born, London-based former beauty executive Sharon Chuter, Uoma rewrote the rules of inclusivity and diversity when it burst onto the scene last year and launched straight into Selfridges – proof of its instant popularity. It’s not hard to see why it was such an immediate hit – the Afropolitan cosmetics line has 51 shades of foundation and 18 hues of concealer, all packed with powerful skincare ingredients like tomato and berry extract to ward off dullness and woolly thistle extract to help address hyperpigmentation, two common issues found in darker skin tones. Add in pigment-rich lipsticks, vibrant eye shadow palettes and eye-catching packaging and you start to understand why this is one of the most talked about new beauty brands on the market.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Double Take Sculpt and Strobe stick, £34.50
This contour and highlighter stick accentuates cheekbones and a like by adding a subtle matte layer of definition, and a luminosity that leaves skin glowing.

Instagram-worthy packaging and curl enhancing know-how have made Michele Scott-Lynch’s British hair care brand a firm favourite with those in-the-know. Looking for a way to ditch chemical straighteners and embrace her natural hair texture, Scott-Lynch spent years searching for a product that would defrizz, define and nourish her curls. When she realised how few sustainable options there were on the market, she decided to create her own. The eco-friendly range of shampoos, conditioners, stylers and masks are all manufactured in the UK and made from fair trade, naturally active ingredients that breathe new life into even the most lacklustre of curls.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Curl Defining Gel, £15
Lightweight, yet deeply moisturising this delivers frizz control around the clock. strands are smoothed from root to tip for curls that are left shaped and defined.
Liha Beauty

Founded by long-time friends Cheltenham-based Liha Okunniwa and Londoner Abi Oyepitan, Liha Beauty fuses “African roots and quintessentially British attitudes”, mirroring their own mixed heritages. This innovative, organic small batch skincare and wellness brand is all about embracing slow living and self-care, and draws on the Nigerian tradition of making handmade soaps and creams mixed with traditional British aromatherapy practices. Their natural, vegan products – which range from Ghanaian Shea butter moisturisers and exfoliating soaps to coconut wax candles – are designed and produced in the UK by small, family run businesses and come in beautifully simple recyclable and reusable packaging.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Idan Oil, £39
Infused with the intoxicating scent of tuberose this versatile oil can be used on the hair, body, hands and feet to rehydrate, repair and nourish.
79 Lux

With a background in integrative health and nutritional coaching, 79 Lux founder Karen Cummings-Palmer specialises in nourishing the body from the inside out. And yet after years of developing and helping to launch health and beauty brands, she was yet to discover the answer to her dry, eczema-prone skin. So she set about creating two powerful skin healers: a regenerating body oil and a nurturing balm. Made in the UK from potent organic botanicals, including rose, frankincense and marula, both products harness anti-inflammatory properties to counterbalance environmental stressors and feed the skin. The results? Smooth, beautifully scented skin with the subtlest hint of a golden glow.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Ultra Nourishing Antioxidant Rich Body Balm, £46
Packed with botanical extracts, scented oils, shea butter and plumping hyaluronic acid, that will transform dry, dull, and mature skin.
Bea Skin Care

Harley Street-trained Medical Aesthetician and founder of the renowned Bea Skin Clinic in Marylebone, Bianca Estelle created Bea Skin Care to bring cutting-edge cosmeceutical science to everyday products. Catering to a diverse range of skin tones and designed to address a wide variety of common issues, from oily and blemish-prone skin to sensitivity and pigmentation, understanding the individual needs of your skin is a major focus, and something Estelle believes many beauty brands have historically overlooked. The ever-expanding range, which most recently added a nutrient-rich master antioxidant cream to its collection, uses 100% natural ingredients and highly effective formulations to radically improve skin health.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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2% Retinol Serum, £54
A must have night serum that tackles signs of ageing, by replenishing diminished collagen reserves, reducing fine lines and addressing pigmentation concerns.

Born out of London-based, Nigerian-born founder Ozohu Adoh’s failed quest to find luxury skincare that catered to her specific issues and those of other women with darker skin tones – namely hyperpigmentation, dehydration and excess oil production – Adoh decided to start her own line of 10 tailor-made skincare products. Ranging from cleansers and serums to masks and creams, her UK-manufactured formulas are bursting with healing organic and sustainably sourced African botanicals, including cotton thistle flower extract, apricot kernel oil and liquorice root extract.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Hydrating Serum, £126
Natural ingredients, backed by science deliver moisture deep within the skin, targeting lines, and wrinkles to leave the skin softer, and smoother.
A Complexion Company

Founder Nomshado Baca has placed black women of African descent like herself at the heart of her wellness supplement brand. Drawing on a range of African holistic practices and using the nutrient-dense Moringa plant, suspected to be the most powerful natural multi-vitamins and antioxidants on earth, she has created her Raw Moringa Oleifera Leaf Powder, a highly effective anti-inflammatory supplement packed full of over 92 nutrients, 36 anti-inflammatories and 18 amino acids. Sprinkle it over your food, add it to juices and smoothies or mix it into your at-home face masks for a powerful immunity-boosting hit.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Organic Moringa Oleifera Beauty Superpowder, £30
Used for centuries in traditional African medicine for its antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, this versatile powdered variety makes it easy to get in on the act too.

First launched in 2010, every one of serial entrepreneur Samantha Jameson’s artisan handmade soaps, bath and body products celebrates the beauty of London through seven heady scents inspired by locations across the city. For Jameson, these fragrances are sensory trips down memory lane, from the smell of grass on a warm summer’s day on Hackney Marshes to the vibrant mix of aromatic spices that linger in the air on Brick Lane and the refined floral bouquets of Bloomsbury. Made in East London, all of their ingredients are vegan and natural, while their packaging is as beautifully considered as their scents.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Hackney Hand & Body Wash, £16
This grassy and herbaceous, scented wash is made with a mix of natural oils and effective cleansing ingredients that won’t dry out the skin.
The Afro Hair and Skin Company

“When we take time for ourselves, we are feeding positivity into our consciousness that tells us we are worth effort, energy and love,” says The Afro Hair and Skin Company founder Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka – an important message when you consider the numerous ways black hair, skin and features have been stigmatised over the years. Meier Oruitemeka’s antidote comes by way of her award-winning green beauty products, which cater to the specific needs of Afro textured hair and melanin-rich skin. The natural and eco-friendly brand sources its organic British ingredients locally, before making each product – from gentle cleansing shampoo bars to nourishing hair oils and supercharged clay masks – by hand in small batches once a week.

15 of the best female-founded black-owned beauty brands to buy now
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Awaken Reviving Body Treatment Oil, £21.50
Rich in Omegas, and fatty acids, plus, repairing and antibacterial properties, apply this nourishing oil to clean damp skin, to ensure it reaches the deeper layers of the skin.
KNC Beauty

Influencer and businesswoman Kristen Noel Crawley’s line, KNC Beauty, made a name for itself with its Instagrammable collection of lip masks. After first spotting the product while strolling through Don Quijote in Tokyo, Crawley set out to create a line of lip masks that use natural ingredients to create plump, hydrated lips. Following two years of research, the millennial-pink, collagen-infused lip masks were released and quickly became a hit. Since then, the beauty entrepreneur has extended the line with feminine, fun products for eyes and lips that are as Instagrammable sitting on a bathroom sink as when worn.

24 cult products created by female-founded black-owned beauty brands KNC BEAUTY Lip Mask 5 Pack
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Lip Mask – 5 Pack, £20
The all-natural lip masks use plumping collagen and moisturising rose flower oil, vitamin E and cherry extract to give you soft, smooth and full lips.
A+ffirmation Culture Shop

Designed to help calm the mind and boost mental wellbeing, A+ffirmation Culture Shop’s range of candles uses 100% natural essential oils and fragrances to create rich and relaxing scents. Presented in minimalist matte white glass pots, the candles are made with a coconut wax, creating a crisp, white appearance and a clean, paraffin-free burn. The collection features a range of scents to choose from, each designed to focus on a particular mood and accompanied with an affirmation card. The six scents are also available in a portable, travel-size pot, to take your relaxation ritual with you wherever you go.

24 cult products created by female-founded black-owned beauty brands Affirmnation High Vibes Candle
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High Vibes Candle, £32
The invigorating candle includes reviving notes of orange, lemon, lime and spearmint with hints of lavender to destress and while patchouli to encourage the release of dopamine.
My Mane

Founder Rochelle Hamilton created My Mane as a platform to celebrate and represent the beauty of natural afro hair. Since then, the brand has expanded to include a selection of specialised tools for hair care. The brand prides itself on using only natural ingredients, making their products suitable for even the most sensitive skin types. The packaging is as sustainable as possible, using fully recyclable boxes and biodegradable packaging components to protect the products inside. The afro-positive line is focused on helping women take pride in their natural hair, with natural oils and hypoallergenic silk pillowcases to keep it healthy and strong.

24 cult products created by female-founded black-owned beauty brands Mane Hair Cocktail Oil
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Mane Hair Cocktail Oil, £14
The lightweight, completely natural hair oil uses a rich blend of jojoba oil, amla, sweet almond oil and vitamin E to soothe the scalp, nourish hair and stimulate new hair growth.
The Glowcery

Launched in March 2020, The Glowcery was founded to offer a range of products that nourish the skin in the same way that you’d like to feed your body — with nutrient-rich, vitamin-filled ingredients. A vegan, cruelty-free and natural superfood skincare brand, The Glowcery’s range of face oils, lip scrubs and balms use only the best natural ingredients and are packaged in vibrant, fully recyclable materials. Employing the richest, most effective superfood ingredients such as avocado, hemp, green tea and marula, The Glowcery’s products promise to treat your skin to a boost of radiance.

24 cult products created by female-founded black-owned beauty brands Clean Greens Superfood Serum Face Oil
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Clean Greens Superfood Serum Facial Oil, £33
Packed with 20 antioxidant-rich superfoods, this facial oil feeds the skin with fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to soothe inflammation, deeply moisturise and give a natural glow.
BeautyStat Cosmetics

Cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson first started BeautyStat as an industry-leading beauty blog, debunking common skincare myths, predicting trends and giving brutally honest evaluations of new products. In 2019, Robinson teamed up with Estée Lauder Inc.’s Jules Zecchino to launch BeautyStat’s own range of skincare. Focused on delivering innovative, high-performance formulas that get right to the issue, BeautyStat’s taking its time to only release products they know will give great results. While the Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream is popular for its lightweight, deeply hydrating formula, it’s the Universal C Skin Refiner that’s become a viral hit.

24 cult products created by female-founded black-owned beauty brands beabeautystat universalcskinrefi
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Universal C Skin Refiner, £96
Using a game-changing technology that stabilises vitamin C, the treatment is formulated with 20% pure, stable vitamin C to create a more radiant, even-textured complexion from first use.
Beauty Bakerie

Founded in 2011 by Cashmere Nicole, Beauty Bakerie went viral for its Lip Whips Liquid Lipstick that refuses to budge, with beauty editors joking that it could probably survive an apocalypse. Following a successful battle with cancer, Nicole was determined to create a range of high quality, effective products that use natural ingredients. The result is a colourful, inventive, and incredibly inclusive line of cosmetics — in August 2018, Beauty Bakerie launched its Cake Mix Foundation in 58 shades, and became the first in the industry to label its shades from darkest to lightest. From shimmering eye palettes to milk and honey-inspired highlighters, the vegan and cruelty-free line puts the fun back in make-up.

24 cult products created by female-founded black-owned beauty brands Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip
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Lip Whip, £19
Creamy, smooth and hydrating, the cult lip whip is famed for its staying power and high-impact colours with rich pigmentation.
Iman Cosmetics

Launched by supermodel Iman Abdulmajid in 1994, Iman Cosmetics champions Black beauty with an inclusive and comprehensive line of cosmetics and skincare. Prompted by her experience of struggling to find make-up artists on set who knew how to best work with her complexion, the model founded Iman Cosmetics to give women of colour access to an extensive range of make-up. From electric eye shadow palettes to hydrating matte lipsticks, the collection runs the gamut. The line is best known for its foundations, with 11 shades available in powder, cream or liquid form, in addition to BB Creams, concealers and contouring tools.

24 cult products created by female-founded black-owned beauty brands 00128 IMAN cream to powder found
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Second to None Cream to Powder Foundation, £24.50
The velvety formula glides on as a cream before transforming into a powdery finish, giving the full coverage of a cream foundation with the natural finish of a powder.
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